Wide receivers and defensive backs:
WR Dan Buckner (Allen HS) Allen, TX 6-4/200/4.47
In my opinion, the star of the class so far. Buckner is a burner with a big body and great hands. My prediction is if he wears No. 4 for Texas, he'll live up to it.
WR Brock Fitzhenry (Giddings HS) Giddings, TX 5-9/175/4.45
Fitzhenry is on the small side. We measured him at 5'7" his sophomore year. He's probably grown an inch or two, but he's not a corner-of-the-end-zone guy. His real weapon is speed. He's got top-level velocity and will be used at wide out for Texas.
WR/DB Antoine Hicks (Mansfield HS) Mansfield, TX 6-2/180
Mansfield's QB was recruited by Texas to play either wide receiver or defensive back. He'll probably get his first look on the offensive side of the ball. Great speed and good moves, but will probably need to gain more experience at his new position.
CB D.J. Monroe (Angleton HS) Angleton, TX 5-9/165/4.40
Monroe is a little undersized but is fast enough to keep up with the best of them (this is a very fast recruiting class in general, so far). Ideal for playing corner.
CB Aaron Williams (McNeil HS) Austin, TX 6-0/170/4.45
Williams is larger and may end up playing safety for Texas, but has the ability to play both. Texas coaches say he will initially be looked at as a corner, then could move to safety based on strengths and need. Williams is a great tackler racking up 141 as a junior, while forcing two fumbles, recovering two fumbles and grabbing two interceptions.
Running backs and linebackers:
RB Jeremy Hills (Alief Elsik HS) Houston, TX 5-11/185/4.50
The younger brother of Longhorn senior tackle Tony Hills, Jeremy Hills has a great combination of balance and speed. Hills will occasionally split out as a receiver for Texas and has been told by Texas coaches he'll be used in a similar fashion as USC used Reggie Bush.
FB/LB Ryan Roberson (Brenham HS) Brenham, TX 5-11/215
A stout, hard-nosed linebacker, Roberson will be looked at as both a LB and an FB. I predict he'll end up on the offensive side of the ball as the kind of fullback/H-back Texas likes to use, but could play in either spot.
LB Emmanuel Acho (St. Mark's School of Texas) Dallas, TX 6-1/190
The younger brother of incoming freshman DE Sam Acho, Emmanuel Acho is a gifted and intelligent linebacker who should be a fine addition to the Texas linebacking corps.
OT Luke Poehlmann (Brenham HS) Brenham, TX 6-5/260
Poehlmann is a long, rangy lineman who will play tackle at Texas. Poehlmann says he chose the Horns primarily based on academics.
OG David Snow (Gilmer HS) Gilmer, TX 6-4/295/5.32
Offensive guard David Snow is one of the top linemen in the nation and had over 30 offers before 2007's Signing Day. None of that matters, though, as Snow became Texas' first verbal commit, announcing that he would accept Mack Brown's offer when he arrived in Austin.
OT Mark Buchanan (Austin HS) Austin, TX 6-5/270
Buchanan has great body shape for a player of his age and was one of the big reasons why the Austin High Maroons suddenly became a football force last season.
K Justin Tucker (Westlake HS) Austin, TX 6-1/175
Tucker kicks and punts, but his best talent is as a kicker. Chris Sailer of Chris Sailer Kicking, who instructed Tucker, said: "Justin is one of the best young kickers that we have ever seen. He has a huge leg, incredible lift and top notch kickoffs."
If every single scholarship player on the roster remains, Texas will only be able to bring in 15 freshmen to replace the 15 departing seniors, but that's almost never the case with any team (Texas lost five scholarship players over the last year alone to transfer or other reasons). This is why we project Texas to bring in 18-20 players for the 2008 recruiting class. It's a talented year in the state of Texas overall and lot of very good players are interested in the Longhorns. Mack Brown and the Texas coaches are going to have some very tough decisions.
Keep in mind, this is very early. These predictions are based on roster needs, communication with recruits and coaches, this Texas staff's history in recruiting, educated guessing, blind guessing, voodoo and a dart board.
Brown usually likes to bring in at least one quarterback with each class. Even with the smaller class size, this trend will probably continue and the top signal-caller in Texas is Stratford's Andrew Luck. The Houston QB will be at Texas' Junior Day on February 24th and we expect him to get an offer. Failing Luck, Altair Rice's Taylor Cook is also on Texas' watch list.
At running back, the No. 1 overall prospect in the state is Van's Jermie Calhoun, but Texas has decided to go in a different direction. From what Texas told Hills about how he's going to be used, it's clear the Alief Elsik running back was their main target.
"We talked briefly about that. I asked him that exact question and the words that came out of Coach Brown's mouth were 'Primary running back,'" Hills told Inside Texas.
But the Longhorns will probably look to bring in one more running back. The most likely to receive an offer is DeSoto's Cyrus Gray. Gray has already attended a Longhorn Junior Day, but didn't receive an offer because there was a delay getting his transcript in. He fully expects Texas to offer. Southlake Carroll's Tre' Newton and Texarkana Liberty-Eylau's LaMichael James are also targets of note, but I'm predicting Hills and Gray will be Texas commits.
If Texas does get another receiver, it'll probably be Sugarland Dulles' Daryl Stonum. But the Horns are likely full-up at the position.
Even with three offensive linemen already committed for the 2008 class, Texas lost both Jared Gooch (commitment switch to Texas Tech) and Matt Nader (heart condition) in the 2007 class and Aldine's Daniel Campbell is a definite candidate for a scholarship offer. However, according to current commit Luke Poehlmann, Texas said it will probably go in another direction and that he, Buchanan and Good will probably be the only offensive linemen in the class. Denton Liberty Christian's Ben Habern also will get a look from Texas.
Zero tight ends for Texas in the 2008 class. This is a shocker for a Texas staff that loves the big guys, as evidenced by their recent recruiting classes. But it's a relatively weak year for tight ends, with the highest rated TE in the pre-evaluation Texas Top 100 ranked at No. 64 (Chase Harper of Pflugerville Connally). But the Longhorns should be perfectly fine because of the way they stocked up at the position in recent years. Hmm…it's as if they saw it coming.
There are a couple of key targets at defensive end for Texas. The first is Chancey Aghayere. The Garland defensive end is ranked as the No. 2 DE in the state (behind Oklahoma commit R.J. Washington) and should be a priority recruit for Texas. Dallas Skyline's Alfred Dupree, one of three Skyline defensive players Texas is bringing into Junior Days, is another who could get an offer. Another player who hasn't been to a junior day, but one to keep an eye on, is Myles Walker of San Antonio Antonian. Walker is a physical freak (6-7, 245) and is very high on the Horns.
Defensive tackle will be an important position for Texas and some very good ones are interested. Cedar Hill's Jarvis Humphrey, John Tyler's Adren Dorsey and Waller's Eddie Brown are getting the most attention from Texas. Expect the Longhorns to offer Humphrey and Dorsey. Brown is a quality DT, can play FB and is very quick, but is also on the short side (6-0), the Longhorns have their nose tackle 2007 commit Michael Wilcoxon, who will likely redshirt, and they already have their fullback in 2008 commit in Ryan Roberson.
Skyline's Spencer Reeves and Garland's Joseph Ibiloye are Texas' targets at linebacker. Both are very fast LBs that would fit well in the Texas defense, but if the Horns have to pick one, the most likely one is Reeves (but not by much).
Texas is looking at several defensive backs, including Denver Mullen's Nolan Brewster, who already has an offer but will probably follow his father to Minnesota, Skyline's Keanon Cooper and Waco's Victor Johnson. Texas did well in 2007 at DB and already has a quality pair committed in Monroe and Williams. If Texas can only get one, it'll probably be Cooper.
My projected Texas Longhorn 2008 recruiting class:
Note: players are listed at predicted eventual position, current commits are in bold.
QB: Houston Stratford's Andrew Luck
RB: Alief Elsik's Jeremy Hills, DeSoto's Cyrus Gray
FB: Brenham's Ryan Roberson
OL: Brenham's Luke Poehlmann, Austin's Mark Buchanan, Gilmer's David Snow
WR: Allen's Dan Buckner, Giddings' Brock Fitzhenry, Mansfield's Antoine Hicks
DT: Cedar Hill's Jarvis Humphrey, John Tyler's Adren Dorsey
DE: Garland's Chancey Aghayere, San Antonio Antonian's Myles Walker
LB: St. Mark's Emmanuel Acho, Skyline's Spencer Reeves
DB: McNeil's Aaron Williams, Angleton's D.J. Monroe, Skyline's Keanon Cooper
K/P: Westlake's Justin Tucker
That's 12 actual commits so far in a predicted class of 19. This should be close to what the Texas 2008 recruiting class will look like. I say "close to" because my prediction is that Texas will hold onto one scholarship to continue evaluations and wait for a player to have a break-out senior year or an interested top-flight out-of-state player that fits for the Longhorns to surface. Once again, this is very early and things could change rapidly. We'll have a much better picture of the 2008 class after Texas' next junior day on February 24th.